TWO TYPES of excessive iron deposits in the body are usually distinguished. The widespread iron deposition associated with prolonged hemolysis or following the repeated experimental injection of hemoglobin solution intravenously has been designated as hemosiderosis. The term hemochromatosis has been reserved for a special entity in which the most common features have been widespread iron deposition (hemosiderin pigment); hemofuscin deposits; increased copper content of tissues; cirrhosis and hypogonadism; pancreatic damages ("pancreatic cirrhosis") and diabetes mellitus, and skin pigmentation. These features of hemochromatosis have varied in their intensity and also in the frequency of their combination.
With the advent of blood banks and the greater confidence in blood transfusion therapy, larger volumes of blood are being administered. Under special conditions it is possible for prolonged transfusion therapy to be associated with a prominent iron overload of various tissues. In certain organs this metallic excess is associated with parenchymatous damage.
MUIRHEAD EE, CRASS G, JONES F, HILL JM. IRON OVERLOAD (HEMOSIDEROSIS) AGGRAVATED BY BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1949;83(5):477–501. doi:10.1001/archinte.1949.00220340002001
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